State of Oceania (7,692,024 km²). Capital: Canberra. Administrative division: states (7), territories (3). Population: 23,233,061 (2013 estimate). Language: English. Religion: Christians 61.1% (of which Catholics 25.3%, Anglicans 17.1%, Orthodox 2.6%, other Christians 16.1%), non-religious / atheists 22.3%, others 10.6%. Currency unit: Australian dollar (100 cents). Human Development Index: 0.933 (2nd place). Borders: Pacific Ocean (N and E), Indian Ocean (S and W). Member of: ANZUS, APEC, Commonwealth, EBRD, OECD, UN, SPC and WTO.
It holds the primacy of the largest island in the world, within the smallest continent: it is located in the southern hemisphere, between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, which form the seas of Timor, Arafura, Corals and Tasman. According to allcitycodes, Australia is considered part of Oceania, but in reality it represents a unitary and clearly distinct whole. In fact, it has a “continental” structure, extended for 3153 km from N (Cape York, 10º 41´ S) to S (South East Cape, 39º 08´ S) and for 4006 km from W (Steep Point, 113º 09´ E) to E (Cape Byron, 153º 39´ E), and with its vast and compact surfaces it opposes the fragmented island world from which it is surrounded to the N (the archipelagos that bridge to Asia) and to the E (the island arches of the Pacific). Discovered by Europeans just in the century. XVII, it is sometimes called “very new continent”, while the name derives from that Terra Australis which was talked about since ancient times. Although sparsely populated and with vast inhospitable areas, Australia has been able to make the most of the favorable characteristics of the south-eastern region, where fortunate environmental conditions have favored an intense use of mineral and agricultural resources and an extraordinary demographic concentration, allowing the birth of extensive urban agglomerations. The country has been able to grow, develop and conquer its own cultural identity, albeit to a large extent indebted to British civilization. At the beginning of the 2000s, Australia began to define its role better, both at the regional level and in the world, but it still seemed to be looking for the best way to deal with relations with indigenous peoples, and the problem of immigration. Today the Australian migration policy has found a balance based on the concept of the migrant’s usefulness, with the result of having selective immigration based on the work and demographic needs of the country.
Australia is almost entirely included in the southern tropical belt and therefore generally characterized by a hot, arid continental climate with strong temperature variations; however, differences can be identified from area to area, due to the considerable latitudinal development and the presence of the Great Dividing Range. There are also various climatic manifestations over the year, in relation to the seasonal shifts of the intertropical front. On the basis of these, during the austral winter (from June to September), the formation of continental anticyclonic air masses which also affect the North, while in the South there is the invasion of the polar sea air masses (which the westerlies are connected to); during the austral summer, on the other hand, the penetration of hot and humid air from the equatorial belt occurs, responsible for the so-called Australian monsoons that hit the north of the country. The movements of the intertropical front are also connected to the influences of the tropical air masses which, promoted by the Pacific Ocean, according to the circulation of the trade winds, hit eastern Australia during the southern winter. However, the tropical sea air does not penetrate inland, also due to the obstacle constituted by the Great Dividing Range, so that the entire W part of the chain remains extraneous to a humid circulation, with consequent general dryness. The city of Perth, on the west coast,Fremantle doctor”, The wind coming from the sea that hits the city, considered one of the most constant winds in the world, blowing practically every day of the year. Thus, different climatic zones can be recognized. Throughout the northern and north-eastern façade there is a humid climate, with insignificant thermal variations (the average is 24 ºC) and with precipitation, mainly in summer, everywhere above 1200 mm per year; in the south-eastern facade there is a humid subtropical climate, with just over 1000 mm of precipitation per year, more evenly distributed throughout the year, which in the extreme SE of Australia and in Tasmania takes on the characteristics of a cool humid temperate climate (or oceanic), due to strong maritime influences and also to the circumpolar sea current; in the’ Southwest Australia the subtropical climate is characterized by a long drought summer, with winter rains, while the rest of Australia has a distinctly arid climate, with rainfall ranging from 100 mm and even less in the Lake Eyre area to 500 mm in the peripheral areas northern and eastern. Temperatures vary somewhat from S to N, with January averages of 24 ºC and 18 ºC respectively and July averages of 16 ºC and 10 ºC. In the arid section of Australia there are strong thermal contrasts: in the innermost part there are averages in January of 30 ºC and in July rarely higher than 10 ºC (in Alice Springs values of +45 ºC and –5 ºC were recorded); strong are also the daily excursions.